WRC – Ogier consolidates; Meeke out | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
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WRC – Ogier consolidates; Meeke out

01.10.16

WRC - 2016 Rallye de France - Saturday midday report

FIA, Motorsport, Mobility, Road Safety, F1, WRC, WEC, WTCC, World RX

The battle for second position in the Tour de Corse rages between three drivers as Ogier continues to pull ahead.

Sébastien Ogier continues to set the pace on Rallye de France-Tour de Corse and the Frenchman has extended his advantage during the opening two stages of Saturday’s competition. Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen continue to battle hard for second, the pair split by 5.4 seconds, with Jari-Matti Latvala trying to draw himself into the podium mix from fourth.

Today’s route, to the west of Bastia, includes another two loops of two stages and after the morning loop covering 84.52 competitive kilometres Ogier has another fastest time under his belt. In the 53.72 kilometre opener, however, he got stuck in a hairpin, dropping a bit of time and allowing a charging Kris Meeke to take the stage victory by 17 seconds. Meeke was subsequently forced into retirement after hitting a tree in the second stage; both he and co-driver Paul Nagle were uninjured. While Ogier is out front on his own, Neuville and Mikkelsen continue to fight for second. The Belgian suffered some understeer first thing this morning and Mikkelsen - fourth last night - was able to power ahead of Latvala in the first stage to claim third, a joint fastest time with Ogier in SS6 inching him ever closer to Neuville. 

Latvala definitely had a better start to the day than yesterday, but the Finn remains unhappy with his pace notes and is struggling to get any confidence in the car. He is 14.8 seconds adrift of team-mate Mikkelsen with a similar gap to Craig Breen behind. Seventh placed Hayden Paddon is struggling today and the Kiwi driver admitted needing to ‘go back to the drawing board’ with his asphalt driving. Eric Camilli is the lead Fiesta RS WRC driver in seventh with Dani Sordo hot on his heels a mere 1.9 seconds behind at the mid-day service. 

Elfyn Evans continues to have a great run in Corsica, the Welshman ninth overall and leading the FIA WRC 2 Championship category ahead of Jan Kopecky and Kevin Abbring. He won both stages and tops the leaderboard by 16.4 seconds. In the FIA Junior WRC Championship, competition is tight and Laurent Pellier leads the category by 5 seconds over Yohan Rossel.